Skip to main content

The need to conduct sufficient background research


Yesterday I commented on a paper by Matthew R.  Hoffman in the Iowa Law Review. My attention had been drawn to the paper by Derek Fincham. I now stand rebuked by Fincham in a further post, "On Polite Discourse".

Fincham accepts that there were problems with the paper:
Hoffman certainly makes some mistakes, and one of the common mistakes legal writers fall into is they can often write elegantly, but fail to conduct enough background research into an area before jumping in.
The thing to remember is that the paper was not a piece of assessed course work, but an academic article that appeared in the Iowa Law Review. And Fincham is quick to remind us that the Iowa Law Review is a "well-respected legal journal". (See journal website.) So perhaps Fincham needs to ask how the editors and the anonymous referees failed to spot the "mistakes" (as Fincham puts it) in the paper?

Is it "aggressive criticism" to say "Hoffman's article has failed to engage with the current debate over 'the international movement of antiquities'"?


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Alexander Bauer said…
The problem is, no matter how "respected" the law journal, law reviews published by law schools are not peer-reviewed journals. Hence, while they may publish some great papers, many ones that are merely thoroughly referenced but mediocre are published too. Now if only there were a peer-reviewed journal on cultural property legal issues.... :)
David Gill said…
Alex
Thank you for bringing us all back to earth! The key thing is that we need to be sure of the quality and reliability of the articles published in the journals.
Are you suggesting such papers should be offered to a certain cultural property journal published by Cambridge University Press?
With best wishes
David
Wayne G. Sayles said…
I agree that Alexander's assessment is reasonable. But, when I hear the words "Peer Reviewed" I cringe because to me that means only academic review and others, not being peers, are often left to read the views of like-minded people. Peerage is an archaic concept that needs some modification in our age.
David Gill said…
There needs to be a review by informed readers prior to acceptance for publication.

Popular posts from this blog

Codename: Ainsbrook

I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a Viking burial had been found. The location in Yorkshire was so sensitive that it was given a codename: Ainsbrook. Here is the summary:
In late 2003 two metal detectorists were working in a field in Yorkshire. They found 'treasure' buried just beneath the surface – a collection of Viking material next to a body. Although they had been detecting on the site for a number of years, during which time they had made large numbers of finds, nothing they had uncovered previously compared with this. They decided to share their discovery with archaeologists.The programme explored the tension between metal-detectorists and the English Heritage sponsored archaeologists putting six trenches into the field based on a geo-physical survey. Finds made by the metal-detectorists did not easily map onto the archaeological features.

Part of the programme had an …

George Ortiz collection to be displayed in London

Christie's is due to display part of the former collection of the late George Ortiz in London in a non-selling show to mark the 25th anniversary of the exhibition at the Royal Academy. There is a statement on the Christie's website ("The Ortiz Collection — ‘proof that the past is in all of us’"). Max Bernheimer is quoted: ‘Ortiz was one of the pre-eminent collectors of his day’.

We recall the associations with Ortiz such as the Horiuchi sarcophagus, the Hestiaios stele fragment, the marble funerary lekythos, and the Castor and Pollux.

Bernheimer will, no doubt, wish to reflect on the Royal Academy exhibition by reading Christopher Chippindale and David W. J. Gill. 2000. "Material consequences of contemporary classical collecting." American Journal of Archaeology 104: 463-511 [JSTOR].

Bernheimer will probably want to re-read the two pieces by Peter Watson that appeared in The Times: , "Ancient art without a history" and "Fakes - the artifice b…

Tutankhamun, Christie's and rigorous due dligence

It was announced today that the Egyptian authorities would be taking legal action against Christie's over the sale of the head of Tutankhamun ("Egypt to sue Christie's to retrieve £4.7m Tutankhamun bust", BBC News 9 July 2019).

The BBC reports:
Egypt's former antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass, said the bust appeared to have been "stolen" in the 1970s from the Temple of Karnak. "The owners have given false information," he told AFP news agency. "They have not shown any legal papers to prove its ownership." Christie's maintain the history of the piece as follows:
It stated that Germany's Prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis reputedly had it in his collection by the 1960s, and that it was acquired by an Austrian dealer in 1973-4. However the family of von Thurn und Taxis claim that the head was never in that collection [see here].

Christie's reject any hint of criticism:
"Christie's would not and do not sell any work whe…